Anxiety is defined as a persistent state of alertness. It alerts us to danger, but for some, anxiety goes out of control, and their bodies react as if everything is a potential danger. Instead of feeling anxious before a big job interview, you could be simmering with dread while cooking dinner or calling a friend. Your day-to-day life becomes an emotional battle, and everything seems more daunting than it should.
For other individuals, anxiety can take more than an emotional toll – the symptoms may become physical. These symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, nausea, and heart palpitations. Some people begin to feel a growing sense of anxiety as their hearing worsens while others struggle with some levels of anxiety all their lives.
In contrast to some aging issues which come out of nowhere, hearing loss tends to sneak up on you until one day your hearing specialist tells you that you need a hearing aid. This shouldn’t be any different from finding out you need glasses, but hearing loss can create anxiety that doesn’t arise with deteriorating vision for many people. It can occur even if you’ve never suffered from serious anxiety before. For people already dealing with depression or anxiety, hearing loss can make it seem even worse.
Hearing loss produces new concerns: Did I mishear that price? What if I say ‘huh?’ too many times? Are they aggravated with me for asking them to repeat themselves? Will people stop calling me? When everyday tasks become stressful, anxiety intensifies and this is a normal response. If you’ve stopped invitations to dinner or bigger get-togethers, you might want to think about why. If you’re truthful with yourself, you might be turning down invites as a way to escape the anxiety of straining to hear conversations. While this might help temporarily, in the long-term, you will become more isolated, which will lead to increased anxiety.
Am I Alone?
Others are also going through this. Anxiety is increasingly common. Approximately 18% of the population copes with an anxiety disorder. Recent research shows hearing loss raises the chance of being diagnosed with anxiety, particularly when left untreated. It may work the opposite way also. According to some studies, anxiety will actually raise your chances of developing hearing loss. Considering how treatable anxiety and hearing loss are, it’s unfortunate so many people continue to cope with both needlessly.
What Are The Treatment Options?
If hearing loss is producing anxiety, it’s time to get fitted for a hearing aid. Don’t put it off until your next check-up, especially if you’ve noticed a rapid change in your hearing. For many, hearing aids minimize anxiety by fighting miscommunications and embarrassment in social situations.
At first your anxiety may increase somewhat due to the learning curve that comes with hearing aids. Adapting to wearing hearing aids and learning all of the configurations can take a couple of weeks. So, don’t get discouraged if you struggle with them at first. If you’re still having troubles with anxiety after you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are numerous ways to deal with anxiety, and your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes such as additional exercise, to benefit your individual situation.